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China is already breaking its cybersecurity agreement, says report

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In September, President Obama signed a groundbreaking agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping, agreeing that "neither country's government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property." Less than a month later, cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike is claiming China has already broken that agreement, tracing 13 different intrusions from groups that Crowdstrike believes are affiliated with the Chinese government.

In most cases, the intrusions represent continuations of earlier campaigns that Crowdstrike and other firms have reported on, including the notorious Deep Panda group. Still, it's notoriously difficult to distinguish state-sponsored attacks from sophisticated private-sector attacks, particularly in China where the distinction is often unclear. Crowdstrike's report also focuses on private-sector targets, since the president's agreement specifically focused on economic espionage.

"I personally remain encouraged by the Administration’s efforts to reduce the number and scope of Chinese intrusions," the report concludes, "and to have China draw a public distinction between national security-related espionage, which virtually every advanced nation engages in, and espionage done for commercial benefit, which the US government and industry believe is unacceptable and must stop."